The window of an old house

The window of my bedroom faces a huge wooden house. Someone told me it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It must’ve gone through both WW1 and WW2. What happened to the people living in the house during the wars? Who were they? Did they have a good life? Any tragedies happened to these families? I had many questions.

As I had no courage to bother the owners, a lovely elderly couple, with my questions, I  created various scenarios for entertain myself.

At one point, a wealthy family live here with their three children, who are taught at home. The image of the family sitting around at the dining table and enjoying their evening meal would occurr in my mind. A light laugh could be heard occasionally. Most likely from the father. The children are well mannered and the tone between them is gentle and pleasant. The lighting from the chandelier makes the living room look bright and glorious. I could sense the warm atmosphere and hear the giggles.

How long did it last, until the war broke out?

The old house reminds me of the novel titled “If the walls could talk” by Yi Shu, a Hong Kong writer, also named Isabel Nee Yeh-Su. The walls must have overheard the whispers and witnessed both the good and the hard time those families had been through. Were they related? Generations? The walls know the stories, if only they could tell.

The curtain is always pulled aside. In the evening, I could see the light glowing softly. The image of a woman is sometimes visible from the window. She might be sitting in an armchair covered with floral print fabric, and sewing a dress. The colour has faded already.

The little room must belong to the past with the original decoration preserved. A few black-white photos would suit the dark-green wallpaper well. It would be her retreat. Oh retreat, it makes me think of the attic room, which is Clarissa Dalloway’s retreat. Strangely, amongst all the scenes taken place in Virginia Woolf’s masterpiece Mrs Dalloway, it’s the moment when Clarissa Dalloway makes her way to the attic room that brings my mind back to the past, a hot day in London in June 1923.

“Like a nun withdrawing, or a child exploring a tower, she went, upstairs, paused at the window, came to the bathroom. There was the green linoleum and a tap dripping. There was an emptiness about the heart of life; an attic room.” (Virginia Woolf 1925)

The little room in the old house, however, is a different sort of retreat. It’s her escape from the world she doesn’t always fit in. She’s too kindhearted, her heart too soft so it gets hurt easily. In this quiet room she feels at ease, no worries, no concerns. Snuggling up in a corner of the armchair, she’s lost in her books. A green vintage dress on the side table is waiting to be mended. No hurry. Sometimes she lifts her head, feeling puzzled. It’s dark outside the window. Her eyes rest on the trees, and then on the soft snow.

At that moment, our eyes meet, the two souls wandering at midnight. Faint and distant. We can’t see it properly. We can only feel it.

 

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With love,

Isabelle ❤️

(The pictures were taken in Oslo, Fredrikstad (Norway) and Stockholm in 2017/2018)

Author: Isabelle

Content writer / editor & Language advisor

50 thoughts on “The window of an old house”

    1. Oh thank you! There must be many stories behind the walls that I’d love to know. The house fascinates me, so is the window. The lighting, weak and intimate, it puts me to a dreamy world.

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      1. Come to Oslo one day and see it. You may stay with us. An English professor of Architecture visited us last year and he was very impressed by the architectural style of the house, and took quite a few pictures from different angles.

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    2. Yes! Old houses have such charm. The architecture itself speaks to its character, to say nothing of the actual stories that compose its history. My family and I like to visit these mansions from the Gilded Age of Newport, RI. Audio tours as well as plaques in each room tell about what life used to exist in the houses – the inhabitants, the parties, and the world in which it all happened. You know it as you look at the houses.

      Even as no family lives in it anymore, an old house possesses its own life, a special connection to the past. With all one might infer from the building itself, I can hardly imagine what more we would learn if it could share what experiences it has shared with its inhabitants.

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      1. Great to know you also have a passion for old houses! I even considered moving to an old house but the suggestion was unfortunately rejected by other members of the family 😁 I think old houses are charming and mysterious. I like old things, nostalgia is irresistible to me. Thank you for letting me know your thoughts!

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      2. My mom likes old houses too. As we search for a house to buy, she has looked at houses with age and character, but few suit our family’s needs, with two under-10-year-old boys who need room.

        I agree with you about the charm of antiques. If I had the time, I would spend hours in antique stores just flipping through books with bindings falling apart and tableware that a family in the 1920s used.

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      3. These visits sound very interesting! It’s a pity we can’t really do that in Greece, unless an old house has been turned into a museum or something. There are so many mansions and old houses that are just left to deal on their own with time and abandonment. You can’t go in because it might be dangerous (rotten floors or falling roofs).

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      4. Such history shouldn’t be left to just fall away in favor of modernity. I think originally Newport thought of destroying the old, obsolete mansions, but a preservation society arose to protect and maintain those relics of the 1870s to early 1900s, before the Great Depression, World Wars, and the federally-imposed income tax that made it impossible for the rich to maintain their luxurious lifestyles in Newport. Maybe a group will step forward in Greece to preserve those abandoned houses?

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    1. Thank you so much! I like books, and I truly appreciate that you liked the way I tell those strange thoughts I have in mind. Have a great week! Looking forward to new inspirations from your posts! 😊

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  1. Ooh, this is wonderful! How intriguing the house must be to you. And right there outside your bedroom window, almost like a friend of sorts, a constant in your day. I love the way you write of the stairs and the attic room. I’ve always loved the idea of an attic room. A place removed from the daily fray to be caught up in ones own thoughts rather than the world’s. Sanctuary 😌 and possibilities. I have never read Mrs. Dalloway. But, I do have a copy and I’m anxious to read it. You have sent my own thoughts on a magical journey. What a treat Isabelle. Thank you. Take care 😊❤️

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    1. Oh thank you Suzanne! The house fascinates me, I’ve been thinking of asking the owners to let me have a look inside the house. But I might not do it as people value privacy highly in the country. An attic room is a retreat, I’d love to have one. The bed is just under the window and I enjoy looking at that window every night before falling asleep. It’s almost a magical feeling observing and letting the thoughts fly. I have a tendency to create scenarios for myself 😊 Mrs Dalloway was on the reading list when I did the subject “British Literature”, I didn’t get it in the first place. Confused and frustrated. Now it’s one of my favourites. I also did a subject called “American Literature”, and the short story “Bartleby The Scrivener” by Herman Melville made great impression. A tragic story. It’s a long comment Suzanne, you don’t need to reply it, I know how much time it takes to write a decent comment. It’s completely fine 😊 I’m just a bit talkative sometimes. Thank you again for your lovely words and they are very very much appreciated. Take care Suzanne 😊❤️

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      1. Hi Isabelle, I’m not sure exactly how our timing differs. It’s evening for me right now. I hope you’ve had a good day. Does someone live in the house? Or is it mostly vacant? Oh how lovely to have a bed just under the window. It’s rather like my tree when I was a girl. I fell asleep looking out the window. I miss that. My Aunt had a simple farmhouse when I was a girl and my grandmother would take me there. There was a spiral staircase up to a loft area with slanted ceilings. I loved sleeping up there when we went. For a little while it was my own special cozy place. Creating scenarios is such a nice way to describe it. Much better than my wording…I often say that I “what if” all the time. Isn’t it interesting how people are exposed to different pieces of literature. There are so many things I haven’t read yet that I’d like to. Then there are those I can read again and again. I adore Gift of the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It’s just wonderful and I read it over again at the start of each summer. There’s never enough time to read all the things I’d like to. Rest well and have a wonderful day tomorrow 😊❤️

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      2. Hi Suzanne, I’ve found out that the Norwegian time is 6 hours ahead of the American time. It’s 9.06 pm as I’m writing my comment now and it should be 03.06 pm your time. Yes an old couple live in that house and they’re nice and friendly people. The house has never been vacant as far as I know. I think the old couple have been living there for decades. They’ve got a large garden, and it’s so lovely in summer with beautiful flowers of different sorts. There’re an old apple tree and some birch trees there as well. I’ve checked out Gift of the Sea, and I like the themes. It will be a good read. Let me put it on my ‘to read list’. Like you, there’re piles of books waiting to be read, I just don’t have enough time. One of my favourite writers is Alice Munro, I’ve read most of her books. She’s well-known for her excellent short stories. I also like the books of Virginia Woolf and the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Hope you’re well, take care Suzanne 😊❤️

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  2. Great post Isabelle !!
    Walls of old houses have witnessed a lot
    The fifth photo of a pastel pink building has to be Stockholm for I think I have crossed that place too !!
    I have nominated you for versatile blogger award and sunshine blogger award. Would like to see your post on it.
    Have a great week ahead !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much Cherry for both the kind words and for nominating me for double awards! I’ll check out your post regarding nominations. Yes you caught it! It was a picture taken in Old Town in Stockholm in late autumn last year. Well spotted! 😊

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  3. I particularly found this one deeply intriguing. Your words transported me to different tales that popped up in your head so as to understand a possible backstory. The last description broke my heart. There was melancholy but as a writer it was brilliantly summed up when the eyes meet♥️ So, beautiful, Isabelle, your writing ☺️♥️

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    1. Oh thank you twinklingwords, such a beautiful name of your blog. I’m very fascinated by the house, and that window somehow means something special to me. I have a look at it before I go sleep every night. It gives me a good feeling, something distant. Something in the past. Thank you 😊❤️

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  4. This is so beautiful, Isabelle! 💖 I often wonder about places like that as well. And this: “At that moment, our eyes meet, the two souls wandering at midnight. Faint and distant. We cannot see it properly. We can only feel it.” was my favorite. Years ago I was watching a quantum physics documentary about all times existing simultaneously; something to do with Einstein’s theory of time being relative. But there was a scientist who was convinced this was quite literal. He was working with magnets and the way they affect out brain. Can’t remember who he was or the specifics, but he developed some kind of head gear containing magnets for an extended period of time. Slowly, it became very apparent that he was witnessing a person from a different slice of time living in the same space as his study was being conducted. At first the person appeared as a very faint ghost…over time solidifying. This sounds really crazy, I know. But I believed it. Anyway….the other person wasn’t aware of him at all. So the scientist just observed…until one day while he was watching the person stopped what he was doing, and slowly turned to face him….looking him right in the eye. They both freaked out a little. The person disappeared, the scientist stopped his experiment. I love that story! You just reminded me of it. It may be in a Brian Cox documentary on time. I dunno. Anyway….THANK YOU! You always gift smiles and beautiful food for thought. Cheers!!! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you for the thoughtful words. I’m overwhelmed and touched as the ending is also my favourite. Those thoughts and words were just flowing through the head, at that moment. So many interesting points you made in the comment, that all times existing simultaneously, and the theory of being relative. Very interesting to hear about the experiment made by the scientist. I think there’s something out there that I cannot see but exist. There might be an invisible connection between elements or things. Thank you for taking time to let me know your thoughts about it and not least, that fascinating experiment. Take care 😊❤️

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  5. I’ve always believed old abandoned houses have that eerie but interesting history about them.
    It’s as if the stories that we’re imprinted in those houses have never left
    and someone could write a story about the people the lived there and the tragedies that unfolded.

    Excellent post and the pictures are awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking time to leave me such a lovely comment. I love wandering in the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (open air museum) with buildings from Middle Ages to 20th century. Those houses/cottages were moved together from different parts of Norway. The house I was referring in the post is however, not abandoned. An old couple have been living there for decades I think. Lovely people. As the bed is placed near the window, I often have a look at the house before turning off the light 😊

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      1. You’re very welcome, Isabelle.

        I hope to one day visit Norwegian and its culture. And speaking of Norway, is it true that a lot of the metal music scene is happening around the area?

        You’re very observed and you’ve expressed yourself well in the post. 🙂

        P.S If you get a chance please have a read of my new poem or read some others as well. Hope your a fan of language and words. I do experiment with words on this poem and others. 🙂

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      2. Thank you for the kind words regarding the post.

        I’m not very much into metal music so I’m sorry I can’t give you a satisfactory answer on that.

        Yes I’m very interested in language. I’m currently doing my master’s in English language. I’ve followed your blog and I’ll definitely read your poems and texts. 😊

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  6. Oh, how lovely! Goosebumps. I often wonder these things about places. For years, I dreamt at night about our old apartment and who might live there now. I was trying to go in, sneak a peek, but couldn’t. This historical house in your neighborhood certainly must have tales to tell.

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    1. I like the charm of old things. Ironically, vi live in a pretty new house. A huge contrast to the charming old house. I guess that’s why it fascinates me so much, It puts me to a dreamy world. 😊

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me! Things with a history fascinate me, I love wandering in old towns when I visit new places. In Norway we have an expression for aged houses “et hus med sjel”, and it literally means “house with a soul”. Thank you. 😊

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